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I've just learnt that FCm Travel Solutions have been appointed as our new Travel Consultants. As I will be a regular user of their services I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with them. Problems, issues, traps for young players etc?
Just a couple of examples. Booked my staff into a hotel in Kowloon rather than anywhere close to our HKG office. REFUSED to add domestic sectors to the end of a DONE4. Booked me into a hotel half way across tokyo from my office. Have yet to actually use my AA number in my booking profile. Were uanble to provide me with an Amadeus refrence number (or indicate that they couldnt and redirect me to Qantas).
We use FCM - I've used them for 2 international bookings and a few domestic bookings.
They seem pretty good, but I have to admit it depends on who you get. There are three consultants that we deal with (AFAIK) - one is absolutely fantastic, the other OK (I've heard horror stories though), and the other I haven't dealt with.
Any time I've had a question (be it "Could you please add my QFF number to my booking?" or "Could you please spend the next hour on the phone with me changing my entire booking?" ) the consultant in question has been more than happy to help. Seat requests, etc... - always actioned without fuss.
Yup - we use Kistend Campus which is the same sort of thing (off-shoot of Flight Centre). Same thing too - the level of service is consultant-dependant. Overall, I've had mixed success with them with some shocking accommodation in the suggested itineraries. I've staved off a couple of shocking accommodation suggestions, including one which would have had me trying to navigate across Manchester in the middle of the night to get from airport to acccommodation for the night before a flight the next day!
Luckily being in higher ed we're able to do our own research and indicate where we want to stay (within reason) and when we want to travel (ditto). As long as they're economy flights, doesn't cost an arm and a leg for accommodation and there's money in your cost centre to cover it they don't much care higher up the chain!
Also, being higher ed, we're given two options (Kistend and STA) so if one won't do as you ask, you go to the other, both of which are on campus. Competition is good for service in this day of "strategic procurement" in the education business!
Over the past 3 years, we have gone from TQ3 (who were ok - just) to QBT (who were very good) and in January we switch to Carson Wagonlit.
I was very impressed with QBT. You tell them what you want (and you could be very specific) and they go away and dig up 3 or 4 options. Saved me a lot of time making them run around freeing up my time.
We had the opposite experience with QBT. When we started using them they rolled out their website (very average) but after a while our company decided that all travel was to be booked over the phone (not sure why but the website was not very user friendly).
FCM, Oh dear....Where do I start? We use them for all our corporate travel. I don't normally deal with them but when I do they are always very friendly but the Secretaries run a spreadsheet of their stuffups!
I don't do much overseas trips but they seem quite good at getting reasonable fares on these. For domestic, my main travel, (QF Gold on domestic travel before Xmas so I do a bit), you need to tellthem the website fares and ask them to book it.
They have booked people the wrong way, ie Syd-Melb instead of Melb-Syd. Booked hotels for wrong nights. Booked me for a two night stay in Perth in two separate hotels, and I was doing a day trip to Karratha on those days!
Booked a Melb-Mackay return as separate sectors at a cost of nearly $1000. I could go on....
Basically I think their staff are really nice but lack training and possibly resources to do the job properly. I understand they are cheaper than other companies but it shows.
Best way around it is to do your own research and be specific when you request the travel.
One tip I can offer is never ask them to suggest a hotel. Invariably it seems to start with A or B....
I now generally book my own hire cars, hotels and would book flights on the net but I'm pushing the corporate policy a bit much.
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Used to use BTI travel, but company changed to CWT a couple of years ago as a global contract, At first CWT were useless (I suspect a lot to do with comapny policy of cheapest fare) but no the girls know me its much better and really have found theer service quiet good compared to what others are saying with these other travel places.
They use Sabre - Virtually There and never had an issue with things like FF numbers being quoted and seat allocation etc.